Alone you can go fast, together we can go further!

BEUC’s Consumer PRO motto rings an important bell in our minds. They remind us that collaboration is essential!

Capacity building is an important concept. The laws have changed hugely (view our past posts). They are now more favourable to consumers while clarifying certain obligations for traders and harmonising the rules on consumer protection.

The training in 2020 covered general consumer protection updates as well as the digital rights aspect of the EU consumer law framework. In 2022, another arm was added – the promulgation of the Representative Actions Directive.

Consumer PRO was an initiative aimed at building capacity within consumer organisations in the EU. This was an initiative of the European Commission and EISMEA implemented by BEUC.

The aim is to enhance the diversity and scope for a healthy cross-fertilisation of ideas, the Best Practice Seminar is open to everyone involved in the Consumer Pro project, including Consumer Organisations, National and Regional Authorities and European Consumer Centres (ECC) in the EU, Norway, and Iceland. The Best Practice Seminar is also open to other Consumer Professionals working in the field for whom the seminar would be interested.

The aim was to improve the strategic planning in consumer law. The two rounds of training (2020 and 2022) each included about 60 participants and many of these have gone on to give their training to their national groups. In total, some 2080 consumer professionals took part – whether directly, or through the national training seminars organised by the national trainers. The country with most participants was the Czech Republic. Malta being a small jurisdiction, had around 20 participants for the first round in 2020, and around 9 in 2022.

In 2020, the focus for the Malta training was general consumer rights but a short session was held on digital rights too. The 2022 training focused, once again, on general consumer rights but gave more time to the digital rights training since this appears to be an area where professionals lack training or knowledge. A further session on collective redress was also held but since this legislation is not well known, there is much that remains a question mark.

Celebrate – the BEUC wanted to celebrate daily work that might not always get public applause but that is the pulse of consumer protection.

Cultivate – learning, building capacity and learning continuously. This is also looking at how AI affects consumers and how this is affecting the ability of professionals to assist their clients. Inter-generational projects could be set up so as to help the shift from the traditional mode of doing business, to AI mode.

Collaborate – the seminar(s) were designed for consumer organisations and professionals to work together and with the BEUC to produce more results.

Watch this space for updates!

By Geraldine Spiteri

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